Chitungwiza develops cold feet on demolitions

HARARE - Government's plan to demolish 14 000  in Chitungwiza, appear to have hit a snag as the town continues to backtrack.

Joel Biggie Matiza, the deputy minister of Local Government who led a probe team into Chitungwiza’s illegal allocation of land to desperate home seekers, yesterday said the matter is now in the hands of the town fathers.

“Phone the town clerk he is the one seized with the matter and is on the ground now,” Matiza said.

Town clerk George Makunde, accused in the report of not taking action on the land audit reports, has been promising to demolish houses under construction, but has not done so to date.

Speculation is high that the town clerk maybe bowing to pressure from a powerful clique in Zanu PF.

But the mayor Philip Mutoti said the list of houses that face demolitions has been whittled down from 14 000 to 8 260.

“We cannot demolish a house where a personlives so we are not doing that now,” Mutoti said.

Plans to raze houses in the sprawling town,  have invoked memories of the brutal government demolitions that were carried out by President Robert Mugabe’s government in 2005 and left close to a million people homeless.

Mutoti said the town’s plan is not to punish residents, who were duped by land barons, but rather to bring sanity to the town, where houses are built on wetlands and also under electricity pylons.

“We are only demolishing houses that are at foundation or window level. As a council we have already dispatched letters to those people whose houses are going to be demolished and around 8 260 people may be affected but that could also be brought down to 3 000 houses,” Mutoti said.

After being engaged by the cash-strapped council, rich land barons, who benefitted from the illicit land allocations, are said to be prepared to compensate their “victims”.

Mutoti’s  absence from the current engagement process to map a way forward between council and land barons raises issues of bias in favour of those who stand to lose out.

“We have given people eight months to prepare to move out from their houses and those that are going to be affected have been notified,” Mutoti said.

“Since we cannot just destroy houses without offering people alternative accommodation there is a plan to give these people decent stands and land has already been identified.  The land barons have also expressed a willingness to pay for the resettlement programme.”

Comments (3)

This defies logic in that if houses were and are still being constructed illegally, it does not matter whether the structures are complete or not. If the council has taken a decision to rid the town of this irregularity then everything has to be cleared. What is clear is that victims will obviously take the city council to court and that is probably why they are developing cold feet. Hameno?

Munya - 6 February 2014

musanakidzwe nekuputsa dzimba dzevanhu please !

Chimwala chome - 6 February 2014

pavaivaka maingovatarisa chete nhasi mozoti murikuda kuputsa

Chimwala chome - 6 February 2014

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